Maskerade or Who am I?
ROSEWOOD PHNOM PENH PRESENTS “MASKerade” GROUP ART EXHIBITION EXPLORING THE SYMBOLISM, SPIRITUALITY AND HISTORY FACE COVERINGS
Rosewood Phnom Penh presents “MASKerade,” a thought-provoking group exhibition that explores the concept of masks and identity – literally and symbolically, physically and spiritually – at the hotel’s 35th floor Art Gallery from January 11 to May 12, 2021. Open to the public and co-created by art curator Nat Di Maggio, owner of TRIBE Art Gallery, an independent modern art gallery in Siem Reap, MASKerade brings together nine Khmer and international visual artists specializing in widely varying genres.
Collectively, the artists offer a timely, creative response to the COVID-19 outbreak, as well an insightful reflection on more than one thousand years of mask history. Though perhaps never as polarizing or topical as during the pandemic, masks have long played many roles in our society from religious rituals to medical practices and protest statements, and appear in folklore, costumes, disguises and more.
Traversing a wide range of modern art genres, MASKerade showcases several pieces of Cambodian artwork, such as raw, intimate fine art photography by Phirom Styles. A tuk-tuk driver turned artist, Kak Sok Phirom hopes guests can see his country through Khmer eyes. “I photograph with my heart, my emotion; when I feel that connection to my subject, I take the picture,” says the artist.
Guests will also discover hyper-detailed paintings by Cambodian artist Nak Noy, who imbues each creation with messages of female empowerment, as well as Hour Soben’s colorful, almost psychedelic compositions inspired by Angkor’s motifs and sculptures. Kampot-born Teang Borin, who goes by Din, focuses on capturing classical dancers of the Cambodian Royal Ballet and the floating Apsara, a type of female spirit that features prominently in ancient Buddhist literature, paintings and performances.
Among the international talents on display, London-based photographer Eve creates intentionally ambiguous images, inviting viewers to form their own interpretations and narratives. Meanwhile, American multidisciplinary artist Jinx Davis explores the ancient art of tattoos with a series of mixed media photography that looks for the “face behind the faces.” In addition, Welsh street artist Charles Uzzell Edwards, a.k.a. PURE EVIL, offers a macabre take on celebrity portraiture; Irish painter and urban artist Fin Dac exhibits vibrant modern Apsara, crafted using stunning stenciling techniques; and British artist Carne Griffiths transforms calligraphy ink into ethereal human forms, laced with natural and geometric motifs. In their own way, each artist approaches the central theme of masks from a totally different perspective, ensuring a fascinating and moving exhibition.